Here’s a question we recently received.
“I am planning to apply in Round 2 and I have to study for the GMAT since I haven’t taken it yet. I know how important that score is and I really need to focus on my prep, so I want to wait until after that’s done to start my essays. What do you think? Is that enough time to do everything?”
Hey there All Of The Eggs, meet One Basket. Now get in and make yourself at home.
Here’s the deal:
You want to apply to B-school with the best possible score you can get. That being said, the GMAT isn’t the only thing that matters in MBA apps, and the last thing you want is a KILLER GMAT score… and weak everything else. That’s gonna help no one.
We can’t stress this enough: If you spend too much time ONLY studying for the GMAT, you are doing your application a huuuuuge disservice. If you spend too much time on ANY single part of your app, for that matter, it’s just no good.
So of course you want to focus on that GMAT, sure, because that’s the thing that’s gonna get your foot in the adcom’s door in the first place. But at the same time, you should also be reviewing your profile and finding any potential weak spots. Things that you can (and should!) figure out now so you can use this time to flesh ‘em out…otherwise, it may be too late.
For example, if you scan through your profile and realize, hey, you know what, I don’t have as much leadership experience as I should, you can take the time to start to rectify that while you still HAVE time. You can take on a new project at work, create something for yourself to do to show initiative, then at least you have something a little more meaty to showcase in your app. If you wait til after your GMAT is done, you have scant time to devote to stuff like that, which is equally as important.
You also want to start shortlisting your schools, beginning the research, visiting if you can, and lining up your recommenders. All things that take time, but don’t take TOO much time if you start early. That way, once that GMAT is done, you can hit the ground running and give those essays the time and attention (a lot of BOTH) they require.
This is what we call the Multiple Basket Approach. Or “MBA.” Coincidence? We think not.